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Utah business expert shares knowledge on state’s recovery chances

It’s a question that is likely on every business’ mind in the Beehive State: as the pandemic response continues, what are the best ways I can keep progress going in such an unsettled time?

One person who recently found some answers to that question is Natalie Gochnour, the associate dean of the Devid Eccles School of Business and director of the Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Recently, she spoke to Deseret News and shared her expertise as a business economic advisor and forecasted a bit on what businesses should expect.

As for your own business, First Utah Bank can offer something that can provide some likely much-needed ease when needing to spend to make your company better: debit cards strictly for businesses.

The haves and have-nots

Cochnour pinpointed the huge losses suffered by families and single workers as the biggest challenge that Utah will face this year. She said that the related recession to the pandemic will lead to what she called a “K-shaped recovery,” meaning that there’s a big shock at first and then two paths to recovery and one of those more positive than the other.

She said that recession pointed out the huge gap between those who are doing well financially and those who are struggling.

“Many small businesses have been destroyed and these livelihoods must be reinvented,” she said. “Utah’s multicultural community has sustained more serious impacts, as have those in select occupations — energy and tourism have been the hardest hit. In 2021 the state must continue to invest in a full recovery for all Utahns and close the gap between those who have largely prospered and those who have suffered greatly.”

As for businesses with the best likelihood of recovery, Gochnour cited construction and technology as two. “Years of investment in engineering schools and STEM fields pay dividends for the Utah economy, and Utah’s life quality relative to other expensive tech centers will carry the day with new remote work possibilities,” she said.

Cochnour had some thoughts about leisure and hospitality economies, which were some of the hardest hit in 2020. “The pent-up demand from Utahns, Americans, and the world will find its way into hotel and convention bookings, restaurant sales, and sports and entertainment venues,” she said. “This forecast is based on widespread vaccinations and the containment of the virus.”

A bright future, but with more progress needed

Cochnour was asked about the drive for companies to encourage more work from home instead of office work. She pointed out that remote work was a trend that was already in play before the pandemic response, and that it will have some benefits beyond saving companies money.

“In Utah this will be a major plus for our air quality challenges. Consider red air days when large swaths of the Utah workforce can work from home,” Cochnour said. “Utah will also be a beneficiary of the “Zoom town” trend as attractive communities throughout Utah attract well paid professionals to live in Utah. I expect Summit, Morgan, Wasatch and Utah counties to continue to experience significant growth pressures.”

Utah itself may have weathered the economic issues of the pandemic better than some other states in the US. Gochnour agreed – to an extent.

“Gov. Mike Leavitt once told me that nobody looks good in a pandemic,” she explained. “This resonates with me after watching the ebb and flow of leadership successes and challenges in Utah over the past nine months. Nothing has been easy.

“But through it all, I’m confident at the other end of this historic event, Utah will rank well in the top-line economic and health measures, and yes, I will attribute this to our ability to work together to prevent and solve problems. Our institutions still work, our associational life is strong, and our care for others is real.”

Utah businesses appreciate the convenience of debit cards

As a business owner, one way to make your everyday spending easier is to invest in a business debit card, and First Utah Bank offers one that is a card-swipe away from convenience for most businesses.

There are many advantages to having a debit card dedicated solely to your business. It’s safer than using cash, cheaper and more convenient than using checks, and you are protected from fraud thanks to Visa’s Zero Liability protection. You can also get cash or transfer funds at every First Utah Bank ATM or at the 50,000 MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S.

You can see those locations as part of the MobiMoney app which is a part of the debit card program. From this app you can turn your card off or on, view transactions, restrict usage, set spending limits, receiving alerts and notifications, and get account balances.

First Bank Utah has many other programs and services to help businesses who need it. To learn more, go to our website.